Ebner in the 2013 NFL postseason.
|No. 43 New England Patriots|
|Date of birth:||December 14, 1988|
|Place of birth:||Dublin, Ohio|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||210 lb (95 kg)|
|NFL draft:||2012 / Round: 6 / Pick: 197|
|Career highlights and awards|
Career NFL statistics as of 2014
|Stats at NFL.com|
When Ebner was 17 years old, he became the youngest player ever to play on the United States national rugby union team, the National 7's. Ebner then played rugby on the United States Under-19 and Under-20 national teams, and was named MVP for the teams at both the 2007 and 2008 IRB Junior World Championships.
Despite not having played high school football, in his junior year of college he then walked on to and played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes. In 36 career college games, he had 30 tackles as a special teams player from 2009–11.
Ebner was born in Dublin, Ohio, and is Jewish. He said of his father: "He taught me the importance of being Jewish with holidays like Chanukah and Passover, and I spent some time at Sunday Hebrew school. My dad stressed finishing strong in every task I did, and conduct myself always in a proper manner." He said his grandparents continue to be a big influence in his life, and "make sure I keep up with Jewish events and that I remember my origins."
His father Jeff Ebner, a former college rugby player at the University of Minnesota and Sunday School principal at Temple Shalom in Springfield, Ohio, was beaten to death at the age of 53 during an attempted robbery in November 2008 at the family business, Ebner & Sons auto reclamation in Springfield. In July 2010, his father's killer was sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison for murder, without parole for the first 15 years. Ebner said:
My [late] dad was my only role model. Looking back on it, you had your favorite players, but they were just players. But a role model, and the way you carry yourself and how you go about your work – what hard work really means – and to be a man ... every aspect of life. To me, my dad was that role model, 100 percent. There wasn't anyone else I wanted to be like more than him.
Junior rugby career
Ebner was a standout rugby union player on the US age group national teams. Ebner at age 17 was the youngest player ever to play on the United States national rugby union team, the National 7's. He was subsequently named MVP of the USA team at both the Under 19 IRB Junior World Championship in 2007, and the Under 20 IRB Junior World Championship in 2008.
College football career
Ebner attended Ohio State University, where he majored in Exercise Science. Ebner did not play football his first two years of college, as he was competing internationally in rugby, but then in his junior year he walked-on the Buckeyes, first playing football in his junior year in 2009, but he was nevertheless considered the team's best special teams player. Even though he played only a handful of plays from scrimmage at nickelback as a back up, Ebner was a special teams standout. He ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.48.
He was given a football scholarship his senior year, based on his special teams skills. In 2011, during which he had 11 tackles, he was voted the team’s most inspirational player, receiving the Bo Rein Award, and the team's best special teams player, earning the Ike Kelley Award. He was a three-time Big Ten Conference All-Academic honoree.
He was nicknamed "Leonidas," after a Greek warrior-king hero of Sparta acted by Gerard Butler in the movie 300, because of his intense workout regimen, and his beard. Paul Haynes, the Buckeyes' co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach, said: "He has a passion for being great .... He was probably the most valuable player on that whole team last year." Asked which special teams unit he enjoyed playing on the most at Ohio State, Ebner's said: "Kickoff, probably. Because ... I just enjoy running down as fast as you can. It's just mayhem, it's exciting, it's crazy. It's such a rush.... It's just one big blur, and then it's over.... Maybe I got a screw loose."
In his 36 career games he had 30 tackles from 2009–11. Pro Football Weekly described him as a player who "races down the field like a bat out of hell, and hunts returners like a heat-seeking missile".
On Ohio State's Pro Day, he had an unofficial 4.47 40-yard dash time, and 39.5-inch vertical jump. He also bench-pressed 225 pounds 23 times, ran the 60-yard shuttle in 10.90 seconds, recorded a broad jump of 10 feet 8 inches, and had a short-shuttle time of 3.91 seconds and a 3-cone drill time of 6.59 seconds.
New England Patriots (2012–present)
- 2012 season
Ebner was drafted by the New England Patriots in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, 197th overall. He signed a four-year contract with a $96,600 signing bonus. He had considered playing rugby had he not been drafted.
In his second preseason game, against the Philadelphia Eagles, he intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards. During his rookie season, Ebner played in all but 1 game, playing in 15 regular season games and both playoff games, and finished second on the team both in special teams tackles (17) and special teams snaps (297, or 61% of snaps). He also played 36 snaps at safety. In two playoff games, he had one tackle.
- 2013 season
Ebner continued to play primarily on special teams for New England in 2013, playing only sparingly on defense. He played in 15 regular season games, in which he had 9 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 playoff games. In the Patriots' Week 12 victory over the Denver Broncos, Ebner recovered a muffed punt that hit Broncos cornerback Tony Carter to set up Stephen Gostkowski's game-winning field goal. The recovery capped a franchise-record 24-point comeback.
- 2014 season
Ebner spent another year as a key special teams contributor for the Patriots, and won his first Super Bowl with the Patriots, Super Bowl XLIX. He played 48 percent of special teams snaps, making 11 tackles (second on the team), while missing two games with a broken thumb. Coach Bill Belichick said:
His development has really been outstanding. I would probably put him in the, not the all-time top, but maybe in the top-five percent all time of players that I’ve coached, from where they were in college to how they grew in the NFL. [He] has adapted in a relatively short amount of time to the knowledge of our defense, to the understanding of opponents’ offenses, to instinctiveness and reading and recognition at a position that he plays right in the middle of the field, which is among the most difficult – inside linebacker and safety – where the number of things that can happen is the greatest.
- Ron Kaplan (December 5, 2013). "Kaplan’s Korner on Jews and Sports". New Jersey Jewish News. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Reiss, Mike (January 5, 2013). "Football journey: Nate Ebner". ESPN. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Jack Borenstein (December 8, 2014). "Patriots’ coach impressed by Ebner’s growth in NFL". Jewish Tribune.
- "Football journey: Nate Ebner". ESPN. January 5, 2013.
- Valerie Lough (July 23, 2010). "Guilty plea ends murder trial; Willie Anderson, 43, is sentenced to 15 years to life for killing Jeff Ebner". Springfield News-Sun. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "New England Patriots: Nate Ebner". Patriots.com. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Bill Rabinowitz. "Ohio State football: Former walk-on is named a captain". Buckeye Xtra Sports.
- Rich Garven (April 29, 2012). "NFL Draft: Patriots pick Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner; Ex-rugby player way off charts". Telegram & Gazette.
- "Draft Prospect – Nate Ebner". Pro Football Weekly. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "Jeffrey D. Ebner Obituary". Springfield News-Sun. November 16, 2008. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "Surprise Plea In Springfield Murder". whio.com. July 22, 2010.
- "Nate Ebner". Ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Brandon Castel. "NFL Draft: Herron, Ebner Taken as Brewster Slips Out of Draft". The-ozone.net. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Austin Murphy (January 29, 2015). "2015 Super Bowl: Nate Ebner's unlikely rise for New England Patriots". Sports Illustrated.
- Rodak, Mike (April 28, 2012). "Patriots select DB Ebner at 197". ESPN. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Matthew Hager (September 8, 2011). "Ebner Has Gone From Walk-On To War Daddy". Ohiostate.scout.com. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Austin Murphy. "2015 Super Bowl: Nate Ebner's unlikely rise for New England Patriots". Sports Illustrated.
- "For Patriots safety Nate Ebner, rugby was an unhelmeted gateway to the NFL". Boston.com.
- Bill Rabinowitz. "Former Ohio State walk-on Nate Ebner makes it to the Super Bowl". The Columbus Dispatch.
- Christopher Price. "Legend of the fall: Nate Ebner's 'special' story began with a bang at Ohio State". WEEI.
- Marcus Hartman (April 28, 2012). "Herron, Ebner Round Out OSU Draftees". Ohiostate.scout.com. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "Nate Ebner Earns ‘Leonidas’ Nickname, Dubbed Ohio State’s Most Valuable Player for Strong Work Ethic". NESN.
- "Ebner: 'Maybe I got a screw loose'". ESPN.
- "Nate Ebner Salary Cap, Contracts, Salaries, Cap Hits, & News Profile". Spotrac.com. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Doug Lesmerises (April 24, 2012). "Among Buckeyes with NFL Draft dreams, Nate Ebner's is rather special". cleveland.com. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "2013 NFL SNAP COUNTS". Football Outsiders. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- "Nate Ebner Stepping into Hybrid Linebacker Role for Patriots". nepatriotsdraft.com.
- "Special-teams standout Nate Ebner gets hometown celebration". ESPN.
- "New England Patriots safeties breakdown: Will Devin McCourty get long-term deal or franchise tag?". masslive.com.
- Nate Ebner on Twitter
- Instagram|Nate Ebner
- Ohio State Buckeyes bio
- New England Patriots bio
- Nate Ebner’s Q&A with the New England media, April 28, 2012